The inaugural meeting of the St. George's Church Theatrical Society was held in the vestry of St. George's Hall on April 26th 1955 at 7:30pm. A committee of 7 was formed under the Chairmanship of the Reverend Lionel Hart, the vicar of St. George's Church, Deal, whose suggestion to alter the name of the Society to St. George's Church Drama Guild was approved unanimously. An annual membership fee of 2s/6d was set.
The first production was Beauty and The Beast performed on Thu 2nd to Sat 4th February 1956 at St. George's Hall in aid of The Hall Fund, and the society has continued uninterrupted for 58 years.
In November 1963, the society changed their name to The Guild Players (of St. George's Hall). In 1965 The Guild Players drew up the first version of the society's constitution and rules. The office of President was created and the role constituted to always be held by the current vicar of St. George's Church, Deal. In 2010 all remaining formal links with St George's Church were severed with the resignation of the President. A new constitution was drawn up removing the President's role and the society name was changed to The Guild Players.
Since the first production in 1956, The Guild Players have staged 186 productions. There have been 15, 42, 43, 29, 28 and 27 in the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, 1990's and 2000's, respectively.
Most of our productions have been staged in St George's Hall, High St, Deal and all have been performed there since 1994. Other venues where Guild Players productions have been staged comprise The Astor Theatre, Deal; Dover Town Hall; St George's Church, Deal; The Methodist Hall, Deal; Deal Castle; St. Alban's Home, Deal and Wellesby Hall, Deal. There have also been a few productions which have gone "on Tour".
Our main venue was called The Little Theatre until December 1978 when it was renamed The Kilshawe Theatre as a tribute and memorial to Tony Kilshawe who had been a great inspiration during our formative years.
History of the Guild Players